Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

20:18 PM, 16th September 2018, About 3 years ago 76

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* Suggestions made by Mark Alexander, founder of Property118.com –

Imagine an organisation with 10’s of millions of pounds of budget every year, funded entirely by its landlord members and acting only in the interests of its members. No sponsorships, no affiliations, no sharing of member data or side deals with any suppliers of services to landlords whatsoever.

For decades our sector has been contemplating how this could actually be achieved in practice, and how every landlord in the UK could be compelled to join such an organisation without any legislative change needed.

Support required

If the groups listed below agreed only do business with landlords who are members, this would mean that no landlord could operate without becoming a member.

  • Mortgage lenders
  • Members of The Law Society
  • Members of the professional accountancy bodies
  • Deposit Protection Providers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Letting Agents

In practice, this could be achieved even if only the three Deposit Protection Scheme providers where to agree to support the proposals, but the other groups are also needed to add balance and to unite their expertise without disturbing delicate politics in their own sectors.

The numbers

Even after factoring in a substantial number of landlords leaving the sector, a realistic numbers prediction is circa 1.5 million landlord members, each paying £10 to £20 year. This produces a fund of £15000,000 to £30,000,000 annually.

The proposed organisation would operate on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis and its sole aim would be to serve its membership of landlords only.

With the levels of budget described above it could afford to have dedicated helplines, PR teams, lobbyists, event organisers, regional representatives and meetings, regular member webinars and high profile social media presence.

The organisation would be staffed by its own employees.

Objectives and opportunities

Now consider the influence and power the organisation would wield, with 15 to 30 million pounds of funding every year, on issues such as:-

  • Section 24 restrictions on finance cost relief
  • The campaign to end Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • The campaign for rent capping
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • Universal Credit
  • The new HMO Licensing laws
  • PRA lending rules
  • Tax on insurance premiums
  • Compulsory Client Money Protection for agents
  • Funding of legal action (including Judicial reviews) which are pivotal to legislation and case law affecting its members

The PRS needs this to combat the destructive anti-landlord lobbying of organisations such as Shelter, Generation Rent etc. Their crazy ideas are being listened to but the voices of landlords and their supporting service providers are not.

Landlords Associations have proven to be ineffective, it is time for change.

Organisational structure

All Directors would be voted in annually by members and would serve a maximum of four years in every 8.

Directors would all be seconded by their employers from the sectors outlined in the “Support required” section above.

These organisations could nominate their employees to run for election as Directors on a secondment basis. If they are voted onto the board by members their salaries could then be reimbursed to their employers from the membership fund. Assuming an average salary for Board members of £100,000 a year, the cost of running the Board of Directors would be a drop in the ocean in comparison to the Budget.

One Director would be elected from each group.

The members voting system for the appointment of Directors would be online in a format resembling the following:-

Name Here

Sector
e.g. Tax, Law, Lending, deposit Protection, Insurance
Employer  [company
Salary  £xxx,xxx
Online Profile [website link]

 

UPDATE 2pm 18th September 2018

When I published this article I hadn’t considered Monopolies, closed shops legislation or restrictive trade practices or thought about running my ideas past our Legal Counsel Mark Smith before publishing. If I had done so, this article may never have been published. However, the subsequent discussion would not have happened either, so i think it is important that I leave this page up to facilitate further discussion and sharing of ideas.

So, where does that leave us?

It feels to me like we are back to square one of landlords being an apathetic group of somewhere between one and two million people without effective representation and an easy target for any Government authority to milk as cash cows whenever they see fit.

Anybody got an alternative solution they would like to propose?



Comments

by Luke P

10:15 AM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 20/09/2018 - 23:15
It absolutely will send a message if enough do it. Thousands ARE on the inside and have been on the inside for a long time. That tactic has failed.

by Luke P

10:19 AM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 21/09/2018 - 10:15
The more I think about it, direct action IS the only way. Larry held LCC to account, Mark did West Brom, Mick with NCC’s SL, my letter at PMQs changed UC wait times. I’m starting to think people going your route are a hinderance. Too scared to play outside the rules of the so-called game…

by Seething Landlord

11:23 AM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 21/09/2018 - 10:19
The examples quoted demonstrate that it is when individuals are directly affected and pushed to extremes that they become sufficiently motivated to put in enough effort to effect change. An organisation will never have that incentive, neither will the apathetic majority e.g. Bank of Ireland's interest rate hike remains unchallenged. West Brom were defeated due to the potentially disastrous impact on a relatively few well motivated people who were willing to make a stand and had the ability to do so, but huge effort was required, not to mention the courage and determination needed to take the case to Appeal.

by Colin Massey

11:29 AM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Something along the following lines was stated in a famous Kevin Costner Film ' Buy the field and they will come'. Similarly here, in the absence of any effective landlord body, and in view of the excellent reputation earned to date by Mark & co, if an invitation went out for 1000 plus registered landlord contacts to become 'founder members' of such a group for £50 or £100 I am sure many would join. I would jump at it for one. Once the movement gained groundswell and publicity, the rest would come. For sure. A sort of a crowd funding movement with benefits?

by Michael Barnes

11:44 AM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 21/09/2018 - 10:15
If all your tenants handed in their notice on the same day, what message would you take from that?
And how would you know you were right.?

by Larry Sweeney

12:56 PM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Luke Spot on. Full Credit also to Mick Roberts for his wonderful work in Nottingham . The only way these organisations will ever get the message is if we cut their funding. I urge every landlord to ditch their memberships. We can actually achieve more individually. As regards pussyfooting around retaining membership. That is bullshit. Michael Barnes i notice you will never rock the boat and the manner in which you have fielded replies on several occasions by requoting what the contributor has said, concerns me. This is exactly the way councils reply. You stick with the NLA/RLA Michael but I can tell you we are off in Droves. They represent less that 5% of the sector and they do not represent us . They do however seem to have an excellent relationship with councils . That says it all Michael .

by Michael Barnes

17:15 PM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 21/09/2018 - 12:56
NLA/RLA provide good support for landlords, and that is one thing that a lot of landlords want.

I agree that we need a more-aggressive approach to promoting the position of landlords wrt, for example, licencing, S24, universal credit, failure of local authorities to enforce existing legislation against rogue/criminal landlords and failure of central government to provide adequate finance to LAs for that enforcement.

If there were an organisation that would aggressively put forward LL positions on these and other issues, then I would join and support it, but I would still want access to support for the day-to-day issues of being a landlord.

It seems likely to me that the majority of RLA/NLA members are those with one or two properties in more-desirable locations and so do not see the issues that are frequently raised here, and as a consequence have no need to push RLA/NLA to change and indeed have no inkling that such issues even exist.

It seems to me that it may not be possible to have a single organisation that both provides LL support and aggressively fights for landlords, but until an aggressive organisation comes into being, the only realistic option is to try to change the approach of RLA/NLA from within.

by John Walker

17:15 PM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Not being a member of either RLA or the other one, but reading these comments,
what benefits do their members actually receive? I suggest that firstly, Property118 set up their own membership scheme and see what the response may be from existing 118 members and dissatisfied members of other organisations, but then, and only then, consider preliminary structure, salaries etc. We all know where we would like to get, but this will take time. Count me in.

by Mark Alexander

17:31 PM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John Walker at 21/09/2018 - 17:15
That would be a great suggestion John if Neil and I had the time and the inclination to run such an organisation, but sadly we have neither at the moment. I agree that’s what is needed and we would support such an organisation if somebody sets it up.

Meanwhile, we do have The Landlords Union which about 60 landlords joined and paid a lifetime membership fee of £600. Those funds are held in reserve to fight cases affecting to or more of our members.

We have utilised the fund twice now and recovered all costs on both occasions. Both cases were private prosecutions, which were dropped prior to going to Court of the basis of settlement subject to a gagging agreement, so sadly we cannot publicise the details and had to delete the articles we had written prior to taking action. All I can tell you is that both cases involved fraud by abuse of position against directors of letting agents who used clients money to support businesses which ceased trading.

by Luke P

18:43 PM, 21st September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 21/09/2018 - 17:15
Both the NLA & RLA believe they’re capable of delivering useful documents and info to LLs, whilst also representing them at political level. In order to knock out the latter, we’ll need to give up the former. Nobody really *needs* the NLA/RLA for forms etc, it’s just convenience (or laziness), whereas we really do need a voice fighting our corner.

Give up your own convenience for the greater good…that’s almost certainly the reason LLs will never really get anywhere.


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